Published 4 December 2009
The Property Council welcomed Local Government Minister Rodney Hide’s announcement on the third bill for Auckland’s super city, saying many of the Government’s key points were in line with the council’s own recommendations.
Chief executive Connal Townsend said the council was pleased to see the latest bill provided a strong basis for corporatised governance of council functions such as water, the waterfront area, property & the city’s economic development, and for less parochial politics: “This is something that the Property Council has long advocated for in our talks with the royal commission, and it’s extremely heartening to see it has been totally endorsed by the Government.”
Mr Townsend was also pleased that, apart from the regional transport authority, politicians won’t be permitted to serve on the boards of other substantive council-controlled organisations.
He said the decision to make Watercare Ltd the sole water entity, bound to a minimum price policy, would lead to greater transparency: “These decisions effectively disband the multiple layers of small water companies, and will deny politicians the ability to skim cash out of water & wastewater consumers through higher-than-necessary price paths & dividend policies.”
But Mr Townsend said the decision to lock in the interim management structure for 3 years was unnecessary: “We don’t believe this will provide Auckland Council with the flexibility necessary if problems are identified during the initial period. This point requires further consideration.”
Allowing local boards to propose ways to generate additional revenue to fund local projects was a positive move: “This is a big tick for local decision-making. Local targeted rates will benefit local communities & grass-roots democracy.”
Mr Townsend said the Property Council looked forward to examining how the Government intended to “clarify” the use to which development contributions are put: “We believe development contributions collected for funding the regional transport authority should only be used for growth-related capital works. Development contributions should not be used to plug funding black-holes which have evolved from decades of local government neglect, such as the region’s rail infrastructure. Nor should development contributions be used to fund changes to the existing level of service.”
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Attribution: Council release, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.